Flyers

5 prospects that flew under the radar during Flyers development camp

5 prospects that flew under the radar during Flyers development camp

When you think of the Flyers' top prospects, the names Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Felix Sandstrom and Joel Farabee are often the first to come to mind.

These prospects also happened to have the most buzz around development camp that officially wrapped up June 29.

The Flyers have one of the deepest prospect pools in the league and when looking a little deeper into the system, a few other names stood out during camp and should be on everyone’s radar for the upcoming season.

Here are five prospects that have been flying under the radar. 

German Rubtsov

Since being drafted by the Flyers in 2016, Rubtsov has flown far under the radar on the list of prospects and this most recent development camp was no different.

A season-ending shoulder injury with the Phantoms cut his first year pro short after just 14 games. What we did see in that short stint of games was one of the most consistent performances from any player on the team with 10 points (six goals, four assists).

After months of rehabbing and regaining his strength, Rubtsov was ready to bring his A-game to camp in late June.

It seems like everything is coming together for the center but the biggest takeaway was watching his ability to drive play. He is capable of making those around him succeed, as well, something that shows a lot of intelligence for the 21-year-old.

If Rubtsov can get back to the level of productivity we saw less than one year ago, expect him to make a big impact with the Phantoms — so much so that he would have a solid chance at making the short list of call-ups to the Flyers during the season.

Maxim Sushko

From Day 1 of development camp, Sushko made an impact.

The right winger drafted by the Flyers in 2017 was easily one of the strongest skaters that hit the ice, often leading his group in drills to help demonstrate to the newer prospects.

Fluid motions that lead to clean stops all while having clear control of the puck will certainly make any prospect stand out.

In his most recent season with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, Sushko registered 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists). He is eligible to play for the Phantoms next season and could be a solid upgrade as a middle-six player.

Pascal Laberge

Laberge has had a difficult track record when it comes to staying healthy. His most recent injury came prior to the start of last season with the Phantoms — a hip injury that required surgery and kept him out for the first five months of the season.

With a significantly short first professional season, he had to make his mark at camp and show everyone just why he was selected 36th overall by the Flyers in 2016. 

Selflessness brings success for the 21-year-old center.  

While there is little hesitation to his game and he isn’t afraid to simply shoot the puck, he often trusts his gut by setting others up for solid scoring chances. Even if they don’t score, he is great at anticipating where the puck will be next and often gets to it first.

If Laberge can stay healthy for the entirety of the 2019-20 season, expect a huge turnaround in his play and confidence level. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a more active leadership role is taken by him, as well, since that is a position he often held in the past. 

Kirill Ustimenko

It's no secret that the Flyers have struggled in net consistently over the past few seasons, so having depth moving forward is a crucial element for success.

Luckily for the Flyers, Ustimenko has the potential to provide just that.

Ustimenko had a very calm presence between the pipes and his skill set really showed during the 3-on-3 tournament at development camp. The rink was split in half, meaning the turnaround time for the goaltenders was next to none.

Always prepared and confident moving from post to post, Ustimenko may be developing at a faster pace than many anticipated.

After recently signing his entry-level contract on May 1, he is set to join the Phantoms this upcoming season (see story)

Alex Lyon and Sandstrom are also set to be with the Phantoms but odds are the team won't run with three goaltenders and one may find himself with the Royals in the ECHL.

Bryce Brodzinski

After Brodzinski was just barely eligible for the 2018 draft and went unselected, the Flyers saw something in him and selected him 196th overall one year later in 2019.

While having played only 19 games in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers last season, Brodzinski made sure to bring his strengths that enticed the Flyers to draft him.

One word that would be able to describe him offensively: fearless. During the 5-on-5 scrimmage, he was able to make room for himself every time he entered the offensive zone. Oftentimes he’d find an open route to the net and while he didn’t crack the scoreboard, the chances he had didn’t go unnoticed. 

If able to translate his skills to the pro level, he has the chance to be a pure shooter anywhere in the offensive zone. 

Brodzinski may be one of the newer prospects in the system but has the potential to do great things once playing for the orange and black. Next up, he is headed to the University of Minnesota in the fall to play for the Gophers. 

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Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux star in much-needed win for Flyers over Hurricanes

Morgan Frost, Claude Giroux star in much-needed win for Flyers over Hurricanes

BOX SCORE

Call this one the Morgan Frost and Claude Giroux show.

In his second NHL game, Frost looked like the 100-point junior hockey stud he was with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In his 842nd NHL game, Giroux looked like Giroux.

Together, the two pushed the Flyers to a much-needed 5-3 win Thursday night over the Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

The Flyers (11-7-4) halted a four-game losing streak. They have two regulation wins since Nov. 5, both against Carolina.

The Hurricanes (13-8-1) entered on a four-game winning streak in which they were scoring 5.25 goals per game.

• There was a chance Frost's call-up to the NHL would be a short one. The 20-year-old rookie isn't going anywhere for now with a roster move ahead.

Frost has lived up to the billing with three points and two goals in two games. He'll be centering Giroux and Travis Konecny at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.

An intriguing facet to Frost's game is the threat he poses playing shorthanded. His junior coaches liked him on the penalty kill because of the pressure he put on the opposition's power play. Frost scored eight shorthanded goals over his final two seasons with the Greyhounds.

His second career NHL goal came on the PK right off Giroux winning the faceoff.

Per NHL public relations, Frost is the sixth player in franchise history to score a goal in each of his first two career games, while the last Flyer to do it was David Laliberte in 2009.

The Flyers were looking for an offensive jolt and Frost has given them one through two games (see highlights).

• The Flyers played seven defensemen and healthy scratched forward Andy Andreoff, who seems like a soon-to-be roster casualty with the way Frost is playing.

Scott Laughton is expected to be activated off long-term injured reserve and return to the lineup Saturday. To make room for Laughton, cap-wise, the Flyers can place Andreoff on waivers for the purpose of the 28-year-old reporting to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

• Giroux had a Giroux game the Flyers have sorely needed. The Flyers' captain put up three or more points for the first time this season, notching two goals and two assists. His first marker was off a pretty feed from Konecny when the Flyers were in an early 2-0 hole. His second goal was the game-winner in the third period after a magnificent play by Frost.

Last season, Giroux had six games in which he scored three or more points. Before his big night, Giroux had one point (a goal) over the last six games.

• With the way he moves laterally, Ivan Provorov has become a real threat at the point when the Flyers' power play gets situated.

“If I can create space, get pressure toward me and dish it out, I will," Provorov said Nov. 4. "If both sides are taken away and I have a clear lane, I’m going to take that shot all day.”

The 22-year-old has been letting it rip — and accurately. During the first period, he scored his fourth man advantage goal of the season after scoring just two in his first three seasons.

Provorov has been a major positive after signing his new deal.

• Shayne Gostisbehere, on the other hand, was not particularly sharp and played only 10:57.

• Let's not forget how good Konecny was against the Hurricanes. He had three assists and with 15 helpers on the season, he is on his way to shattering his career high of 25 set last season.

• Give some credit to Brian Elliott, who recovered well after a bad start in which he allowed two goals in the game's opening five minutes. Elliott made a massive save late in regulation as Carolina was all over him eyeing an equalizer.

Elliott finished with 33 stops.

• The Flyers play five games in the next eight days, starting Saturday when they host Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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Flyers at Hurricanes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Hurricanes: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers on Thursday night will look to avoid a season-worst fifth straight loss.

So far, they've lost four consecutive games twice. To avoid topping that, the Flyers (10-7-4) must beat the Hurricanes (13-7-1) on the road.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: PNC Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Alain Vigneault is trying everything and anything to spark his veterans.

On Monday, Vigneault said, “Whoever we’ve played with Coots has played well."

The Flyers' head coach is so desperate to get Jakub Voracek going that he's moving the winger to Sean Couturier's line with Oskar Lindblom.

After Vigneault put Voracek, Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk together at the start of Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Panthers, the trio has been split up, per NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher. Hayes will center Joel Farabee and Tyler Pitlick, while van Riemsdyk heads to the fourth line with Michael Raffl and Andy Andreoff.

Will all of this work? At this point, the Flyers have to give it a shot. During the team's four-game losing streak, Claude Giroux, Voracek, Hayes and van Riemsdyk have combined for one goal and two assists.

"I expect more from James, I expect more from Kevin, I expect more from Jake as far as 5-on-5 play," Vigneault said Monday. "You’d ask those guys, they’d tell you the same thing. They need to be better for our team to get into the playoffs and we’re aware of that."

• The Flyers are scoring 2.18 goals per game on the road, fourth fewest in the NHL, while the power play is 4 for 37 (10.8 percent) away from home.

• The Hurricanes are scoring four goals per game at home, tied for the second most in the NHL. Carolina has won four straight contests, a stretch in which it has scored 5.25 goals per game.

• Outside of Ivan Provorov (three points), Flyers defensemen have scored three points during the Flyers' four-game skid.

• Just how valuable have Travis Konecny and Lindblom been to the Flyers this season?

The team is 0-3-3 when Konecny goes scoreless and 2-5-1 when Lindblom goes scoreless.

The two have gone scoreless in the same game only twice this season.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Tyler Pitlick
James van Riemsdyk-Michael Raffl-Andy Andreoff

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

 

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